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1. The 10 Spot has taken its act on the road this week for the Orange Bowl. Sunday was Media Day, in which about 150 members of the press loiter around 150 players to unearth such insider insight as this from Oklahoma's Dan Cody: "Everybody's relaxed but not too relaxed. Everybody's focused but not too uptight." We also learned that USC's Dwayne Jarrett likes waffles, that Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson has aspirations to be a model, and that after Oklahoma quarterback Jason White won last year's Heisman, a family came to his home and specifically asked to be photographed in White's bathroom. Yes, there's no substitute for being there.
2. USC coach Pete Carroll's wife, Glena, laid her hands on the injured ankle of Trojans tailback LenDale White on Thursday, and White said that her prayer helped improve his ailment overnight. Unfortunately, the NCAA is investigating the incident as an improper benefit.
3. There's a disturbing sign in the restroom at the media hotel, the otherwise pleasant Fort Lauderdale Marina Marriott. Titled "About Our Water," it reads: "The discoloration of the hotel's water is largely caused by humic or tannic substances that are naturally occurring in South Florida's raw water supply and has no health significance per the Environmental Resources Manager of the City of Fort Lauderdale." Putting aside for a moment the fact that we have no idea what "humic" means, the most ominous word in the explanation is "largely." Doesn't that raise the troubling question of just what else, precisely, gives the water its disquieting tint? Those $4 bottles of "complimentary" water are starting to look awfully good.
4. Media Day's unquestioned star was Oklahoma defensive end Larry Birdine. You might recall that Birdine provided the game's first bulletin board material a few weeks back when, among other things, he labeled USC's offense "average," called the Trojans a "one-and-a-half-man team" (the "one" being tailback Reggie Bush) and termed USC quarterback Matt Leinart "overrated." Although the Sooners staff made Birdine scarce this week in Florida, he was available on Media Day -- and was in fine form. He didn't back off any of his earlier statements, casually tossing off the kind of bon mots that make coaches cringe and sportswriters smile. "I'm a dog, man," he explained. "I'm just mean." He even discussed a possible future as a fight promoter, a career to which he seems particularly well-suited. If Oklahoma wins, expect Birdine to be a very popular man in the Sooner locker room.
Have a question or opinion for Pete? He might answer/address it in his mailbag.
5. LSU's 400-pound live mascot, Mike The Tiger, will live at the Baton Rouge zoo while his on-campus home is upgraded with a waterfall, live oaks and an Italianite tower that will cost nearly $3 million. Mike received the upgraded lair after interviewing for the mascot position at Louisville.
6. Has any group of fans had a worse holiday season than LSU football backers? On Christmas Day, coach Nick Saban announced that he would be leaving for the Dolphins. On New Year's Day, the Tigers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by allowing Iowa to complete a 56-yard touchdown bomb on the Capital One Bowl's final play. On Monday, LSU will reportedly announce Oklahoma State's Les Miles as its new coach, news that has so far been greeted on the Bayou with all the enthusiasm of a dry Mardi Gras. Fortunately, Louisianans know the cure for depression: warm gumbo and a cold drink.
7. Can somebody please remind the 10 Spot why we were supposed to feel bad for Cal?
8. Sunday's sports section of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel provided another reminder that the 10 Spot was no longer in New York. The articles included ample coverage of both cricket and polo (the kind with horses). Evidently it's the offseason for jai alai.
9. The Jets lost to the Rams 32-29 in overtime on Sunday but backed into the playoffs thanks to the Bills' defeat by the Steelers. Even so, the heat has increased on Jets quarterback Chad Pennington for a perceived failure to win big games. The temperature was turned up further on Sunday night when Stephon Marbury declared himself the best quarterback in New York.
10. Meanwhile, the Rams made the playoffs with the win over the Jets. St. Louis coach Mike Martz was so overjoyed that he tore up the restraining order on Kyle Turley.